Exit Strategies Insights

Industry insights, knowledge base and announcements for business owners and professional advisors

Sell a Business Insights

What is an Earn-out?

An earn-out is when part of the consideration received for a business is based on future sales or earnings. Earn-outs usually come in to play in business acquisitions when a business has high risk factors, or when non-linear growth is reasonably expected, or when there is a significant gap in the price expectations between the buyer and seller. In all cases the parties share the risk and reward of future performance. Bridging a Price Gap An …

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Private Equity Fact and Fiction

Private equity groups are active acquirers of closely-held lower middle market companies here in California. Private equity consists of individuals, families and institutional investors that make passive minority investments in partnerships that invest in, provide debt financing for, and operate private companies. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s run for the presidency in 2012 brought sudden attention to the private equity world. Romney, who had been the founder and CEO of private equity firm Bain Capital, didn’t go …

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Is it Better to Own or Lease your Business Facility?

For some businesses, specialized building construction is required — hotels, car washes, wineries, some food processing facilities, etc. — making the business and real estate nearly inseparable, and making owning the real estate almost mandatory. However most enterprises need a more generic commercial, industrial or retail property to support business operations, and the decision to own or lease real property is more elective. Companies that lease their facilities avoid the sizable cash investment associated with …

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Is it too early to have my business valued?

A potential client has been dragging his feet on having a business valuation done. Most recently, he asked, “Is it too early to have my business valued?” A better question may be, is it too late? This baby boomer wants to exit his business and retire in the next 2-5 years. He said, if the business isn’t worth much, he would probably hold on to it and transition management of the business to a group …

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Why do business owners hire an M&A broker?

Recent clients “Jane and John Doe” were satisfied with the market value estimate of their manufacturing business, as determined by the independent valuation we prepared.  Armed with this essential piece of information, they were ready to sell the business they had founded and grown with much effort over many years. John thought they should try to sell the business themselves.  After all, weren’t they the best salespeople for their business? And why should they share …

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For Historic Mountain Lodge, It’s Not the End of the Rainbow

The historic Rainbow Lodge in Soda Springs, California, which was in receivership and non-operational for almost a year, has been acquired. This 33-room lodge on the Sierra’s western slope near Hwy 80 was originally built as a stagecoach stop in the 1800’s. In the 1990’s, the owner of the nearby Royal Gorge Cross Country Ski Resort bought it with the intention of providing lodging for skiers. The building is currently undergoing substantial renovations and the business is expected to re-open …

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Normalizing Income Statements for Business Sale Transactions

One of the fundamental roles of a business broker is to properly adjust, “normalize”, or “recast” the income statements and tax returns of a business to determine its true earnings power. Where the business has a track record of profitability and the promise of future earnings, market- and income-based methods of valuation are then applied to determine a reasonable price that a buyer should be willing to pay and the seller is likely to receive. Normalizing involves …

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Sales of Small Businesses on the Upswing

According to a recent Inc. Magazine article, “Let’s Make a Deal”, sales of small businesses in Q3-2013 jumped 42% from the same quarter in 2012. Inc. quotes Curtis Krocker, group manager of BizBuySell.com, “After four years of depressed selling and buying activity, the markets are coming back.” Why? Motivated sellers and available financing. Many older baby boomer business owners are ready to sell their business and retire. Having held off selling during and immediately after …

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What Sells Businesses? Quality Information.

I recently took on an acquisition client to help them locate and purchase a business here in Northern California.  Over several months we looked at a dozen or so businesses offered by business brokers.  What an eye-opener it was seeing how other brokers present information to prospective buyers! I certainly knew that prior to signing a non-disclosure agreement (NDA); one should only expect to see a 1-2 page blind executive summary with general information about …

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Importance of a Proper Valuation before Offering a Business for Sale

Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time working on an acquisition search for a client, and in this process I found many business offerings that were priced far too high and several that were under-priced. From a buyer and seller perspective, overpricing is a massive waste of time. At the other extreme, when price is set too low, seller’s leave hard-earned money on the table. Both situations can easily be avoided by obtaining a proper business …

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